It is the first day of autumn today, but you would not know it just by looking out my window. The lazy palms are dancing in a gentle breeze with a perfectly blue sky as a backdrop. However, there is a subtle change in the morning and afternoon, the marine layer hangs around a little longer, keeping everything damp and cool. Although the word “crisp” is a stretch in describing the weather, there are the feelings of the beginning of a seasonal change. I have been playing around with a number of soups lately as the evening fog draws me into a cooler space in my mind. Tortilla soup, Tuscan cabbage soup, creamy tomato soup, spicy pepper soup, all asking for some good bread for dunking. I went with a traditional Tuscan round, no salt, but I warmed it up a little with some rosemary and cracked pepper. This bread also makes for a perfect breakfast with a little olive oil and a pinch of kosher salt. You can also slice and toast this bread, rub with a little garlic, and serve with your soup of choice. This recipe makes two little loaves, perfect for freezing…or sharing with your neighbor.
Rosemary Tuscan rounds…
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup warm water
1 tbs active dry yeast
2 heaping tbs fresh rosemary, minced
pinch of sugar
Dissolve yeast and a pinch of sugar in warm water for about 10 minutes. Stir together rosemary, cracked pepper, and flour. Now, I just used a bowl and a wooden spoon for this bread, no need to dirty a mixer. Mix together yeast mixture and 1 cup of flour mixture, then slowly mix in the rest of the flour, little by little. Dough will be stiff. Kneed the dough for about 5 minutes. Cover on a lightly floured surface or bowl and let double in size, about 2 hours. Then punch down the bread, cut dough in half, and shape into loaves. Let double in size again on a floured sheet pan, about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake until crust is golden, about 30 minutes.
Eat together, toast to each other, and share!